No more weeks – just posts. 24kg lost – and the new normal

Stepped on the scales this morning and realised I have skipped 23kg lost and gone right on down to 24kg! This means, for the first time in about 6 years, I weigh less than my husband. Think about that for a minute. It’s mind-boggling. It’s amazing and wonderful. It’s scary that I let it get that bad. Yesterday I found my staff pass photo from 2 years ago. I will post it here along with a current photo, which will demonstrate the point I am about to make.

I am starting to find it hard to remember what carrying that extra 24kg felt like. That’s because now is my new “normal” and the bigger version of me is the past. It’s great, but I’ll admit it’s also a bit scary. What if I forget altogether and go back to my old ways? If I can’t hold on to what it was like to be obese, how can I guard against it? And then I realise that is crazy self-talk. I am not going to go backward, there is only forward in this journey for me. Even if I don’t lose anything for a month, that’s just a holding pattern and we’ll put more saline in the band and set off again. Knowing that I have a reliable and professional support crew at the bariatric clinic is a huge factor. I know that I can call them any time and they will listen. And if they think they need to see me, they will organise an appointment and talk me through whatever it is. I know I have a great group of friends and family who have my back and are cheering from the sidelines, and work colleagues who are interested in the process I have undertaken.

I am leaving Unhealthy Sue behind, and embracing fit, healthy and optimistic Sue instead. Next stop, to drop below 110kg for the first time in 7 years. Stand by!

Me 2 years ago…

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And me now!

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Week 22 – 22 kg down and on track for more

Saw my surgeon this week and did not have to have more fluid added. He is very happy with my progress, and my attitude. I should make a note here about my surgeon, for anyone thinking of starting down this road. Make sure whoever you go with is someone with whom you have a bit of a rapport. I really lucked out with Mr Skinner – he is very professional, but with an approachable manner that makes him easy to talk to. He is encouraging without being over the top about it, and is gentle when I have to have more saline put in (thankfully not often so far). I am not sure I would be doing as well as I am without him, and the great team at the clinic, behind me!

So, 22kg lost now, and the prospect of having to buy new knickers looms large. Probably will have to do that this weekend. Might also have to buy another pair of work pants as the ones I bought 2 months ago are now getting too big in the waist! I have noticed an increase in knee pain (similar to what I had when I was 22kg heavier) in the past few days, but I think that is because I am carrying my frame differently now, and things are adjusting. It is nowhere near as debilitating as it might once have been, so still a win.

Still have not joined a gym, but I find that my activity level has increased, particularly on a social level. I find myself saying “yes” to more invitations. In the past I would have made excuses not to go to things because I just couldn’t face them (tired, uncomfortable in my own body), but now I find myself doing a lot more. I am also the first to volunteer to walk across the school to the office now – in the past I would have been quite happy to never have to do that. I enjoy the sensation of moving around – I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of you, but just being able to move, and know that my body will do what I want it to, when I want it to, is HUGE! (or not huge, if you see what I mean!). I think once I finish my Uni course (in about 7 weeks), I will make the effort to book a couple of gym tours/info visits to see what might suit me best.

Until then, it’s upward by heading downward!  Thanks for reading. Next milestone – dropping below 110kg on the scales! That’s my goal for my daughter’s 21st in November. Let’s see how I go!

Week 20 – Fittingly, 20kg down!

I have broken the 20kg barrier as of today, and while that is something to celebrate, I am starting to see that the BIGGER thing to celebrate is the change in how I deal with food.

Before I go on, I should admit that I did try pizza again on the weekend: thin crust, minimal toppings – and it was still a disaster. SO for the record, NO MORE PIZZA! When the rest of the family orders in (which they are perfectly entitled to do), I will find something else to have, even if I have to make it myself. Take away on a Friday night is a luxury we allow ourselves – one night in the week where I don’t have to cook or think about feeding everyone else, a treat. Maybe the time has come for me to find another treat. Maybe a soak in the tub? I might actually fit into the bath now…I will keep you posted on that one!

Anyway, back to how I am dealing with food. Most of the time this is working well.  Most days now I really only have 2 meals (at least through the week anyway). This works well for me in a lot of ways – at work I often don’t have a huge opportunity to eat the way I am supposed to  (waiting 60 seconds between each mouthful) and that has caused issues. I am better off having a decent breakfast (my favourite meal of the day anyway), and then a small and delicious dinner with my family at night. I honestly find now that while I plan what I will eat, and when, food is not what I am thinking about most of the day. I have realised in the past that is what was happening. I was always, in the back of my mind, thinking about what I could eat next. It’s something I didn’t notice until I stopped doing it! I was always looking for “a little something” to “keep me going”. And, hey, I am not saying that I don’t eat the odd bit of choccie or have an occasional bikkie at work (or at home), but it’s controlled and I enjoy it, and then move on.

To some of you this might sound ridiculous, but having less room in my tummy has opened up the world for me in many ways. I am reading more than ever; I knit or crochet every day, which I love; I feel more confident – not because I am lighter, but because I am in control.

On to the next big goal – 25kg down!

Week 19 – Still on 18kg lost, pushing towards 19kg down. Farewell to pizza…

Tonight was the night I realised that pizza and I can’t be friends anymore. I’m not gonna lie, I will MISS it. But, if that’s the way it has to be, I will adjust, just as I have to everything else so far.

I went to the surgeon this week for a monthly follow-up and I had lost 4kg for the month, which is a fantastic result, and it meant I had no saline added to the band. But it’s like my body heard that and said to itself: “Right, well I am going to make it hard for her to eat things she has been able to get down until now.” The upshot of that is that I had a day yesterday where food and I were not really compatible, and then tonight, no pizza for me. I don’t know if it’s the dough, or the cheese, or a combination, but it’s off the menu – at least for the time being. I guess the best part for me is the other realisation: it’s not the end of the world if I can’t eat a meal. The food is not the most important thing anymore. It certainly used to be. I was more pissed off at the waste of money than the waste of food. I don’t ever remember feeling like that before. So, my relationship with food and eating is still changing. I find it easier to say no to food. I can go to the staff morning tea now (usually a magnificent spread of lots of yummy stuff) and not eat ANYTHING. Even just after the surgery I would have tried to have something very small, just so I could tell myself I had enjoyed something. Now it’s about talking to colleagues and getting out of the normal workspace. Things like that are a revelation, and quite emancipating really. At least now when I go out for breakfast with our friends tomorrow morning I will know I have some space to put some nice eggs, or a corncake. I will enjoy it, but I will enjoy the company, and the experience of being out and feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a long time, MORE.

Starting Week 18 – have to admit, it’s getting better…18kg lost!

Thought I would just post an update after my pretty flat post last time. Things have settled down a bit more since the band tightening (nearly 2 weeks ago now) and the weight is starting to fall off again. I hit the 18kg loss mark yesterday, and falling. I am the lightest I have been in about 5 years now and it’s starting to show everywhere. Soon I will have to buy new knickers and a couple more smaller bras! Today I bought the first pair of button and zip jeans I have owned since 2011, which was exciting.

The best part is moving around freely. Being able to climb stairs, kneel down, bend to pick things up off the floor, and yes, being able to reach around and wipe myself properly when toileting (this was not always possible before) all works to make me a happier person over all.

Sure, it’s great getting all the compliments from friends, family and colleagues, but knowing I can go out and walk around and FUNCTION is priceless. My husband and I are even planning a walking event in the City next weekend (if it’s not pouring with rain of course – we’re not martyrs) that should cover about 10km. Six months ago I couldn’t even think about a walk that was more than 2km, and I would have resisted that too.

Life is great – and it’s getting better, all the time. (apologies to the Beatles)

Week 17 – Not a good week, but it will get better…

A week ago I had 0.5ml added to my band. Doesn’t sound like much, but I now have a total of 4.5ml in the band, making my “passage” for food very narrow indeed. Whilst I have now reached a 17kg loss overall (yay), this has not been a fun week. Most days I bring up at least one meal, sometimes two. Breakfast is pretty much non-existent any more, which sucks because I have come to realise it’s my favourite meal of the day. I love going out for breakfast, I love a quiet brekkie at home working my way through a pot of Scottish Breakfast tea and reading the paper. For the time being, at least, breakfast is a no-go zone. For the first time since starting this journey I have felt down this week – really down. I am trying not to let the husband and children know just how dreadful I feel (like a stone is in my chest) a lot of the time – because it won’t help and will only upset them. It hasn’t helped that I am back to work this week and trying to fit in meals around the school day, but mostly I am finding that things I could previously eat without trouble are now causing me grief.

I am sure it will settle down soon, but in the meantime I am eating a lot of mush and soft stuff, which becomes demoralising when I have been able to eat relatively normally up to this point. Racing to the loo to chuck up whatever the latest eating attempt is during the work day is pretty shitty too. That’s what I just spent my lunch break doing. Luckily my colleagues understand what is going on and just wave sympathetically at me as I go back for the second/third/fourth time to get rid of that last little morsel that is causing me pain.

I also realise that in the larger scale of things this is a small problem. I am not dying, I can still eat a lot of different stuff, and I am losing weight. I am not so self-absorbed that I can’t see that to some people this might sound like the woman who got to go where she wanted, and then complained about the scenery. But this blog is as much a venting space for me as it is an account of what bariatric surgery (and the aftermath) entails.

On the face of it, life is pretty good. I am having to think about buying new undies because some are too big. I am going through clothes and now giving away the ones that are too BIG to charity. I feel amazingly well (apart from this week) and physically much more able to control my body and where it is going. Those are the positives and I am hanging on to every one of them. Hopefully I can check in here next week and tell you that things have improved and all is right with the world.

I remain optimistic and happy to be walking this many-coloured path.

Week 15 – 16kg total loss. A week of ups and downs.

A week to celebrate hitting another milestone. Went to bariatric clinic again this week and had a very small loss. I did indicate that I had my period and I always gain fluid at that time. They wanted to add some more saline to the band, but since we are off to Port Douglas next week they elected to wait until my return. Sure enough, I dropped nearly a kilo yesterday and a few hundred grams today and droppped below 120kg for the FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS. I am thrilled. It also means if I can keep the weight coming off over the next two weeks, I might not have to have saline added after all. In any case, I feel healthy, I feel positive, and I finally feel like I have control of my body and what it is doing. 

Today, I tried on a new bra I bought a while ago. I inadvertently bought it a size too small. I now fit into it. The means I have dropped a full bra size! I also bought a new pair of tracksuit pants this week – and they fitted! I haven’t been able to buy a pair for  nearly 2 years and have relied on yoga pants. Now I am warm, relaxed, and looking forward to buying some exercise gear soon to start some personal training. I can’t wait, because that will also help to push the weight loss along, and start helping me tone up too.

There has been a “down” moment as well. It involves a long-standing friend and her refusal to even mention my surgery or weight loss after not seeing me since before I had the band put on. She has weight issues of her own, and I learned the hard way early on to never mention her weight. But I thought, after waiting for 12 months to have this surgery, that there would at least have been an inquiry about how the surgery went, about how different I look – ANYTHING. But, nothing. We have been friends since high school. I was very hurt when I left her last night. I feel like it has exposed a rift in our relationship that I had been blind to, until now. I wonder if I can go forward and NOT tell her how hurt I am (she won’t see this as she is not on social media). Her lack of tangible support will not stop me. It will not discourage me from my goals. But it makes me question lots of other things. I am so grateful to everyone who is supportive of my choices, to all those who offer words and gestures of encouragement. You know who you are and I thank you. I just wish I could take this friend with me on the ride. 

I love my life. I love her. But if she can’t even wave from the shoreline I may have to sail on without her. I just don’t know.